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Pop Will Set Us Free

29 June 2016, 08:45
Words by Shura
Original Photography by Pamela Littky

Embracing the queerness and freedom of pop music has liberated Tegan and Sara both musically and personally, they tell die-hard fan and pop star peer Shura.

Growing up it’s safe to say that I stood out.

I was born in London but moved to Manchester when I was six-years-old. I sounded different to everybody else. I was half-Russian which meant I had access to an alien language. I was a girl who played football for Manchester City but supported their rivals Manchester United - a decision made based purely on the fact that red had always been my favourite colour.

I was born with a ‘permanent best friend’ - my twin brother Nicholas - who went to ballet classes while I played football. From an early age it was clear to me and also to the rest of the world that we were different. The joke amongst our peers and some adults was that maybe something had gone wrong in the womb; I should have been the ballerina and Nick the footballer.

That’s not to say that we were made to feel unwelcome: often the things that made us stand out were the things that were 'celebrated'. In many ways it was fun to be different and I supposed I embraced it. I was born as part of a double act - Nick and I were a novelty - entertaining to other people.

It was much later when I slowly came to understand my sexuality. I was Gay. So was my twin brother. The Gay Twins. As if everything that preceded it wasn’t enough to make us stand out, here was the final flourish in a long list of circumstances that meant we never really managed to slip under the radar.

Coming out was never really that difficult for me. I was fortunate to have an incredibly understanding family and a twin brother who - for the first time in his life - beat me to it, so to speak. He came out first. It lead me to question my own sexuality. Suddenly things that hadn’t quite clicked for me, things that I didn’t quite understand, seemed to make sense: "why do I feel nothing when I hold this boy’s hand?", "why is everyone so into snogging? It seems pretty gross to me?" (says the girl whose first music video consists entirely of snogging). I was always the bossy twin who lead the way, but in this instance it was very much Nick who took the lead and helped support me when I followed suit.

I actually think people were less confused by me once I opened up about my sexuality, although that doesn’t mean that it was always easy. There were very few examples of people like me close enough to my age for me to look up to, to inspire me to believe that anything was possible. I suppose it’s somewhere here that Tegan & Sara enter the picture.

I don’t remember exactly what lead to my discovery of Tegan and Sara - MySpace must have been involved somehow - but I do remember how important their music was to me growing up. I would listen to their albums non-stop. I tend to always get like that with music I love, listening to entire records on loop for months and driving everyone around me completely insane. This is the way I’ve always consumed music and I don’t see that ever changing.

I would play "If It Was You" on my Sony Discman on the way to and from school. I played "So Jealous" every time my Dad took me anywhere in a car (which was often) making Tegan and Sara fans out of both him and my twin brother Nick in the process. Both The Con and Sainthood soundtracked the tail end of puberty (you know, that time in your life where you’re convinced your life sucks but really it’s just the raging hormones and unrequited love - the latter still happens far too frequently for my taste but the raging hormones definitely improve).

I remember once queueing up at the merch stand after a Tegan and Sara show to have a vinyl copy of Under Feet Like Ours I bought on eBay signed by them. I took that record because the song "Divided" (about their experience of being identical twins) had become an anthem of sorts for Nick and I.

It's not hyperbole when I say that, growing up, Tegan and Sara were my heroes. It wasn’t because they were twins. It wasn’t because they were openly queer. It wasn’t because they played acoustic guitars. I fell in love with their music. Everything else just made me feel less alone. They inspired me to write and to be myself, unequivocally. They also inspired a haircut that should never have happened but the less said about that the better. I remember my Dad using the word 'pioneer' in reference to Nick and I growing up with a single father and being incredibly embarrassed by him using that word. Maybe I felt like what we had wasn’t something to be proud of. I have since made peace with that word.

There is no doubt that my experience of making a record as an out queer woman is markedly different as a result of Tegan and Sara’s career; because they were Pioneers. Maybe in many years to come, someone will say the same of my records. Maybe that someone will go on to support me on a Tour of North America. Maybe they will be able to say that they queued at a merch table in order to get a signed copy of Nothing’s Real. Who knows?

Sara Quin

SHURA: Pop is obviously that's something that you guys have explored across the last two albums and especially with this one. Something I struggle with is the concept of the perfect pop song. I kinda feel like I started making pop music by accident but for you guys it's been a steady evolution, hasn't it?

SARA: One thing that really changed for me working in that genre is that we came from the world of rock music - originally we came from punk rock, then splintered off into indie rock. I always felt like we were unqualified. I don't know if that was self-imposed or if that was the insitutionalised nature of that genre. We didn't go to music school, I couldn't wail on the guitar or do crazy leads. I always felt like we were up against people who had very specific skills and qualifications and we were always gonna be outsiders.

Within rock music?

Yeh. And even when it wasn't directly said to us, it was implied in so many ways. I remember when we put out So Jealous and "Walking With A Ghost" got reviewed so badly initially. Like so many reviews on big publications like Pitchfork were calling us boring and saying the guitar was boring and so simple. Now it's really easy to look back and be like "well they were fucking wrong!", like that's song's awesome! People love that song.

"It's much easier for me to defend our position in pop music than it ever was in rock music." - Sara

There was sort of the understanding that we were never going to be considered amongst the guitar gods, that we were not good enough. And some of that was self-imposed and insecurity but one thing I really like about pop music is it feels like there are less rules. It's sort of a wild west, you can kind of do whatever you want...unlike the national scene and the indie rock scene. There's not these rules that we have to adhere to. So in a way we chose to get into pop music cos we liked the idea of being able to move up the ranks - because the only qualification you need is ambition and to be able to write a good hook.

Nobody looking at us now is going "oh yeah the songs are boring" and if they are then I'm like "then you write 'Boyfriend' if you think it's so simple and easy!! It's much easier for me to defend our position in pop music than it ever was in rock music.

I think that writing a good pop song is much, much harder than people realise -

Yes! Yeh!

- to get something that really works, that has the ability to cross over and become a 'hit'?

When I think about the way people used to talk about our band back in the day, the catchiness of our music was often one of the things that was talked about in a critical way. I'd read these reviews that said our songs sounded like we were writing jingles...that there was no substance. In a weird way it was always setting us up to do much better in pop music. Writing things that are interesting and hooky and you can't get out of your head. There's a complexity to that I always understand but in rock music: "oh yeh their guitar riffs suck and their songs are too catchy."

I love how that's seen as a criticism. If somebody said that, I'd be like "hurray!"

Exactly! Are you supposed to be making like this super-opaque thing you have to listen to like 43 times to remember the melody? I knew we were not necessarily in the right genre but it took a while to figure out how to-

I think pop became a dirty word for a while but somehow people have made their peace with it again. You guys have had to come out of the closet as a 'pop stars', or at least that's how it felt for me.

It's funny you say that because I think for me - and I'm sure Tegan might say the same - the '80s and' 90s - which was our childhood - with people like Bowie and Prince and Madonna and Kate Bush, there was a lot of sexuality and gender fluidity that was already being experimented with. I don't remember thinking that men wearing make-up or women you know discussing sex or being sexual was wrong. I just remember that's what was being soaked up in my brain in the '80s and early '90s.

In the later part of the '90s and early 2000s, the early part of our career, it actually felt incredibly hetero-normative. It felt you had to be a very specific thing and look a certain way. You had to be dirty and wear a leather jacket and be super straight. I thought there was a real lack of queerness in music and in the music industry for the beginning part of our career. In a weird way, the thing that's really refreshing to me about what's happening now in pop music is that it feels really queer. I don't necessarily mean everyone's gay, I just mean that there's an open feeling to the identity of pop stars, whether they're straight or they're gay. It reminds me of the beauty of the music I grew up listening to and it's really refreshing to see that being reflected in pop music again. I just feel really excited by what's happening in pop music moreso than what's happening in other genres.

You're totally right and I think we go through phases. We have people like Grimes or Troye Sivan or you guys or Shamir who are embracing the idea of queerness.

Yes! And honestly, even some of the big pop stars like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. There was this gigantic out-of-this-stratosphere kind of pop stardom that happened that was gayer than people realised. Whatever you think about that song "I Kissed A Girl", never underestimate how powerful of a message that is to people all over the world, to see this person who they look up to, they think she's cool, she represents the perfect popstar and she's singing about something that is so taboo and so potentially dangerous for most people to think about and talk about around the world. Yeh it's so casual to hear - she kissed a girl, she liked it - that can mean death for some people. Don't underestimate how profound that is.

I understand that for some people the straight identity appropriating gay culture and the history of that can be difficult but on a base level there's a lot of popstars who are responsible for allowing the mainstream culture to accept a fluid sexuality and gender identity again. You see it reflected in other people too like Stromae and Christine and the Queens but to have it happen in America for me is pretty wicked!

Tegan and Sara by Pamela Littky

When I was 15, you guys were the only current examples of out women making music that were successful. Who your heroes were in that way?

We kinda grew up in a bit of a weird grey area. There were certainly trailblazers - people like K.D. Lang, Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, George Michael, Madonna. There were people who I can look back now who I can say in the context of growing up, there was a queerness and fluidity I recognised. Maybe I wouldn't have had the language to identify that but I knew it and there was an openness in the world I grew up in.

When I was a teenager - 15, 16, 17 - and I was looking for someone in my age group who was representing it but I didn't necessarily have that. I had people in my parents' generation...I remember at some point thinking, okay I'm listening to all this music representing my generation - you know, people like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, and there was a bit of trashing of gender identity or sexuality - but there were no out gay people I was listening to, at least knowingly. Maybe Ani Di Franco but she was late for me, when I was getting out of high school. I remember her identifying as bisexual, which again, was like: I understood base level sexuality - I was gay - but I didn't understand the sections of sexuality. Soon after that she was getting married to a man...

But when we were in our twenties, I didn't feel like anybody's hero. In fact I often felt like a lot of gay people were like: "you don't represent me! I don't like your music, I don't like your politics!" or, "I don't like your haircut!". I think that's a result of when you have such an invisible group of's like the Democratic Party in the States right now. You only get two choices. What about if neither of those people represent you? You end up with a weird backlash. For us that was the challenge in the first few years of our career. Okay: we want to be out and talk about being gay but we also want to not talk about being gay because we feel like we make everybody mad when we do that. It was so confusing. Now we're old: yeh, we're gay, we're heroes....

I guess being musicians, being visible at all is a strange thing for a human to come to terms with. You become something that people to look up to. When you vocalise an opinion that isn't in line with someone else often you create a visceral, strong reaction that isn't positive. It's hard to come to terms with.

I knew you were a twin but I didn't realise your brother was gay. There's also something really interesting about now being an age where I have an entirely new vocabulary around how to talk about sexuality and genetics and my experiences with Tegan and individuality. Now it seems really interesting. It's a really added bonus that we get to have these conversations and elevate these things into the mainstream.

Even the terms 'Queer' - I feel like we don't use it in the UK anywhere near as much as in the States. That was interesting for me - I was asked by an American if I identified as 'queer' and I was like 'Wait, What?! Isn't that a negative term?'

What word do you use?

I say gay just because I feel like the word lesbian sounds like a bit like a disease. It's strange to me that with the word gay you can say 'you're 'gay'. But with Lesbian you have to say you're 'a' lesbian!

The other day I was doing this interview and it was with a man who was gay. He kept referring to me as a lesbian. I was like 'I don't identify as a lesbian. I identify as queer or gay'. He was so intrigued by that. 'Why? You're a lesbian!' I really don't like the word. It upsets me. I probably has a lot to do with my gender identity. I feel female but for some reason when it comes to my sexuality, I like the ambiguity and the spectrum of words like 'gay' and 'queer'.

You say you feel female but then again it's not like you wake you every day and say 'Oh, I'm a girl'! That question I often get asked is 'what's it like being a woman in the music industry'. Then I saw the band Savages say, It's like getting asked 'what's it like being a woman eating a sandwich'. I loved that. I also think I don't know if I'll ever really feel like a woman. I think I'll always feel like a girl.

I know you get this. There are certain people who are fine with being called 'a lesbian' but for me it feels like a word that could be very quickly used in a way that feels derogatory and, going back to 'queer', for me there was almost like an academic layer to [it]. I can use that word and it allows me to address the intersection of gender and sexuality at the same time. I have taken that word back for myself. It allows me more space to talk about and move around within my own identity.

One thing that's really been interesting about the last couple of albums is that I think that people in the beginning our career had no problem talking about us however they wanted to - there was no embarrassment for someone to write something really derogatory or offensive about us because it was the era of 'I didn't know' or 'I didn't mean anything about that' - now people are sensitive and they don't want to say the wrong thing or offend you. It's kind of refreshing. Now people are not only more aware and educated but they're willing to give you the space to say the things that you are instead of allowing them to define you. You're finally allowed to define yourself. That is like a brand new thing.

"I really don't like the word 'lesbian'. It upsets me. I probably has a lot to do with my gender identity. I feel female but for some reason when it comes to my sexuality, I like the ambiguity and the spectrum of words like 'gay' and 'queer'." - Sara

That ties in nicely with that fact you're redefining yourself as musicians. I get the feeling from this record that you're really proud of it, you can hear that in the music. I'm a fan of every record but it's really interesting to see you stride so confidently into pop music, as trailblazers.

I never feel like we're trailblazing but I do feel like we have a fearlessness. Although I'm racked with anxiety all the time but that's the trappings of being a self-aware person. I feel very mindful of who I am and what I am and both my strengths and weaknesses. I just don't feel like people can hold us back any more in terms of the music we're making now. Once the guitar was out of my hands I felt like people didn't have the same weapon against us. I felt like "okay we don't play the guitar in the way these guitar gods play it" so fuck the guitar, I'm gonna make music the way I want to make music. And now there's a confidence and inspiration in making music without worrying that we're not doing it right.

I think about this all the time when it comes to producing and writing. There was this era when if you didn't do everything yourself people thought you were a ding-dong! I think, for us, it was like selling our merch, carrying gear on our backs, sleeping in parking lots, playing shows and booking shows but we're just empty-headed Barbies because we didn't produce the album ourselves 100 percent...sometimes I felt like "good god, how much do we have to do to prove ourselves!"

With pop music it feels like it's more ambiguous. I just feel like people are asking us to prove less. We have control, we have control over our career, we're bosses and people know that now. There's less pressure to prove it all the time.

Tegan and Sara

Tegan Quin

SHURA: I listened to your interview your interview with Zane Lowe yesterday and he played you "Divided" which was the song I used to play at open mic nights. I used to ask my twin brother Nick to come onstage so we could sing it together. There's a couple of tracks from this record that deal with your relationship to Sara and as a twin I found it really fascinating. I love my brother Nick so much but the idea of embarking on a career with him is bonkers. I realise that's it’s a broad question you've been asked a billion times but what is it like?

TEGAN: No, I completely understand. When people ask what's it like being in band with your sibling I say: imagine being in a band with yours? It's hard. Obviously I feel incredibly grateful that it's Sara I'm sharing a project with because we've seen so many acts deteriorate and fall apart and end - and that makes sense, like in any relationship. You grow into different directions and there's no point in being together anymore.

Or you see those awful bands that just stay together because it's obvious they recognise that they're gonna get paid, and they just stay together even though they hate each other.

I'm grateful that I enjoy being a band with Sara. I still find her music really inspiring. I still love the way she writes. I love that she is the way she is. But it can be tough. We're very different Sara and I. People say "I'm bit like a dog and Sara's a bit like a cat!"

Who was born first?

I was.

Is there a natural leader between you both in terms of the dynamic? I definitely boss my twin around. (SORRY NICK!)

I think that we take turns. I think that's why we're less explosive and mean and get along so much better now because we're learned how to take turns and give each other space. I think that was probably the biggest lesson that we have learned and the biggest development to our relationship is that we learned that compromise was going to be a disaster because we were gonna both no get what we wanted. So we learned how to give each other what the other one wants and to take turns going back and forth.

When it comes to leadership it's similar: there are things where it's very obvious what Sara thinks, what she wants to do, that she needs to do, that are important to her. I think we learned how to give each other space to lead.

I tend to be a people pleaser, I tend to be the one that tries to go along with everyone, I tend to be the one that's out front being the greeter and the hoster and Sara's more....a little like "who cares?" so we balance each other, you know? We've gotten where we've gotten because of that balance. There's still conflict. It's not easy, you're right to imagine it's totally mad to try to be in a band with your sibling and share a life and a face and a career...

I can't understand the face-sharing thing cos my brother is definitely a boy the last time I checked and I am definitely a girl! Certainly as I've gotten older, I've realised that being a twin, you have this eternal connection to someone but that doesn't guarantee you eternal closeness. I don't know if it was like this for you growing up but when my dad went to a dinner party people would always ask "how are Nick and Shu?" or "how are the twins?". It would never be seperate, like "how is Nick?" or "how is Shu?"

Suddenly at the beginning of my career, I now have this identity as an individual which is very separate to the way I grew up. This person who has always been very close to me, I now have physical distance from because I'm touring. With you guys - although occasionally it must drive you mad - you do get to be together.

It's good and bad, right? Like I feel "wow it must be amazing to be your own person and have your own identity!" but then there's something so, um, there's something so sad about the idea that I wouldn't be attached to Sara that it balances immediately. My desire to be alone or be independent or be my own person, it's immediately dissipates when I imagine actually having it!

But that's what created the equilibrium over the years I suppose [and] when Sara lived in Montreal that gave us the distance we needed....and then she moved to New York and that was very exciting and that made me want to go there and we got to have adventures together and that gave it a whole new level to our relationship so I think we've been able to manage an equilibrium of the few very different feelings and desires. But it's hard, you know? When I think about how special our relationship is and how unique our situation is and how incredible our career has been because we share it and because it's linked to family and our identity, it's incredible but then I think about what if she were gone?

"I know Sara chose this career because she felt like she owed it to me...I wanted to play music, this is what I wanted, I fought for it, I pushed for it and I felt resentment from Sara when we started because I knew she didn't really want that." - Tegan

Everybody thinks that way about loved ones but I will never, ever have anything that's just mine because it's all shared with her, whether she's in it or not. I know there's something very suffocating and upsetting about that.

I watched an incredible documentary about these twins and one of them decides to transition to a different sex and it was weird for the other twin because they'd always had a twin brother and now this brother was a twin sister. It was a huge change in how they perceived themselves.

I can relate to that. When Sara came out - I knew that she had a girlfriend and I knew that I liked girls - but when she came out, it felt like it outed me. It was probably one of the harder times in our lives and it's weird, I wasn't upset that she was gay but by her being gay, it made me gay. It's hard to explain that to people. It's interesting that you brought up "Divided"'s crazy to say but it's like I know Sara chose this career because she felt like she owed it to me.

There is something very insane about having feelings forced into something...I wanted to play music, this is what I wanted, I fought for it, I pushed for it and I felt resentment from Sara when we started because I knew she didn't really want that and -

Do you think that's changed now?

I think so but you know it's hard, I think she was uncomfortable with it. I don't know what she wanted to be...she kinda went along with it. That was ultimately that era, that's what divided us, that's why we were in therapy, because she basically, in her own words was 'I'm doing this because I feel sorry for you. This is what you want and I'm doing this for you'. I felt like she sorta had me back into a corner. I felt trapped in that emotion. I felt like I had to tiptoe.

"Just because you're gay doesn't mean that you can't be homophobic. Self-hate is natural to everyone whether you're gay or not," - Tegan

When she moved to Montreal I felt like she was escaping. It was difficult, it was very complicated. I don't know if you felt this way but I feel like...if I ever said "oh I'm so tired and it's so daunting" then people would be like "what are you talking about...?" I felt the same way about Sara, I would call my mom and say "she's awful and she's mean to me" and my mom would be like "then quit!!!" I would be like "are you fucking out of your mind?!!!" How can I quit her?! No-one understood how powerful and yet how awful it could be sometimes.

My twin brother came out when I was 13 and I cried because I was like "why do we have to have a gay in our family?" Everyone had called him was really obvious [but] I defended him but when I was told by my dad, I felt embarassed becase I knew they'd all say "we were right and you were wrong." A year later I was like "I think I might be as well...." I loved that I could have a vaguely homophobic reaction to my brother being gay.

We talk about that all the time. I think that just because you're gay doesn't mean that you can't be homophobic. Self-hate is natural to everyone whether you're gay or not. I think that sometimes being uncomfortable or just disliking something is very cliched but it is a red flag for a lot of people: "Why are you so against this? Are you gay?"

I've had my record sent out to people and it's interesting to be on the other side and get a private stream of your record before anyone else. Obviously "Boyfriend" I know super well because I've been playing with the stems...I was on tour in Germany and was like 'guys, shall I just DM Tegan and Sara and be like "can I do a remix?"'

It's fantastic, we love the remix! I was the one who got the message and I was so thrilled, that was very exciting.

It's a total dream come true for me. I want to dig this picture out of me with you guys at a gig but I fear it will be SO embarrassing for me that I just can't do it...cos I'm definitely trying to copy one of your haircuts and it doesn't look good on me because I don't have a jawline. Love You to Death has a big pop sound but for me, when I listen to it, there's hints of Cyndi Lauper, hints of Springsteen too...

All the big '80s and late '70s iconic pop music like Cyndi and Bruce and Bowie and, the other day I was talking about how obsessed we were with very strange stuff like Phil Collins, Mike and the Mechanics...we wanted to continue going down that path of making pop music but making really intelligent pop music like they made in the '80s. From so many years of making really heavy, alternative indie rock/pop or whatever, it's been very inspiring and exciting to thematically still be dark and deep and just like match that with something less deep and less dark.

I think what you do really well on this record is that thing Whitney Houston does really well which is happy/sad music - where it's sonically euphoric but the lyrics are like "oh my god! I want to die!"

That was the one complaint - a lot of the diehard Tegan and Sara superfans were fine...but there was definitely a contingent of people saying "oh this feels smoothed over, this feels likes it's been created to appeal to the masses! Where's the depth, where's the edge and the heartbreak and...?"

I think it's unfair, I hear it on Heartthrob - Sara's songs certainly felt very edgy and very dark. I feel like that was there but fine. With Love You To Death we really did try and keep that edge and that vulnerability and that sort of desperation from previous records. In terms of production we tried to approach vocals with the idea of feeling less compressed and less dense. Trying to allow some of the emotions room to move around.

We've approached the live show in that way too, taking 60 percent of what's playing on the tracks and turning it all off. For some reason by turning it all off, we sound bigger.

I think one of the struggles of trying to make something sound like it does on the record is that you lose so much because it's very different hearing something on a PA to hearing it on your headphones or a speaker at home.

This is why I hate the movement towards video screens and content and playing videos behind the band. It makes you feel like you're watching television. I was resistant when we went into live production for Heartthrob, I was resistant initially to playback because it just sounds like you're putting the record on and people will just glaze over. You won't hear the imperfections and fuck-ups and the wrong notes that show the audience it's real, that they can feel it.

And now I don't want a guitar on every song and a keyboard on every song because it creates a barrier between me and the audience. When I stand in front of the audience I'm there and I'm exposed and with Love You To Death we've definitely learned that lesson in terms of the sonic production. We turned things off, I'm there, you can hear me.

Do you not feel vulnerable, not having a guitar to hide behind? The idea of not having a guitar is terrifying to me.

Yeh, I do and that's why it's necessary at this juncture in my career to do it. It's making me vulnerable.

You're not comfortable any more, which is the point, I guess.

Tegan and Sara by Pamela Littky

On The Con and into Sainthood - those two records specifically - we each had our own guitar tech, there were keyboards coming on stage and being taken off, then another guitar switch and then another thing and then something rotates....and another musician for became about this thing and that thing and another thing!

The feedback we've had from those first [recent] shows in NY and LA and Toronto is: oh wow, it's just about you guys! It's about the performance and the personalities and the banter and the singing. It's about you and your physicality on stage and there's no distractions, no people coming on and off.

It felt more intimate and real than anything, people told us. It's just us!

Coming to your shows was about so much more than the music. You two as characters are incredibly gregarious and interesting and the conversations that you have onstage become folklore with your fans. People don't just want to know what songs you played and in what order, they want to know what you spoke about in between.

I remember early in our career being really insecure about that. People would come up and say "you're so funny" and I'd think, "my god are we just not very good at music? Have we chosen the wrong path?" Then I realised the talking was humanising us, making the experience really special. Of course I want people to think we sound good and like the music, but that's why they're there. The talking and the stories and the personal experience they're having - that's what's going to stand out.

"There have been times in my career when Sara starts to talk and I think to myself 'we just talked before the last song and the one before! Shut the fuck up!" - Tegan

It's not for everyone though. I remember a manager of an act we were friends with coming up to me really early on in our career and they basically tried to get me to go for lunch with this band and give them tips on how to communicate with the audience. It's not something you can learn, it's about what you're comfortable with and I'm comfortable with talking so it reads comfortable and funny and natural because it's actually me.

When we were getting ready to do these upcoming shows, we had hired a musical director who works with a lot of big pop stars and he was like 'oh so when are we gonna talk? After the third song?' It made me so uncomfortable -

Choreographed talking?

Yeh. But it was cool because we did figure out a roadmap of when we would talk and it was good because we've been talking less. The shows have been getting crazy and long cos we talk so much. Knowing when I can talk means I can lose myself in the music more. It also gave me permission to speak. There have been times in my career when Sara starts to talk and I think to myself 'we just talked before the last song and the one before! Shut the fuck up!'

By scheduling the talking, it feels like Sara and I are both excited to talk...but then the musical director asked what we were going to talk about and that's when I was like 'fuck off!'

The day when we're organise what I have to say it when it's over, we're done!

Tegan and Sara's Love You To Death is released on 3 June. Shura's debut album Nothing's Real is released on 8 July.
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